Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Competition: Welsh Lamb's Baafta Competition- Winner!

A couple of months ago Welsh Lamb ran a recipe competition, asking for contestants to enter their favourite welsh lamb recipes, in one of four categories: "Sunday Boast" (your best roast lamb recipe), "Midweek masterpeice" (easy to prepare midweek lamb recipes!), "Welsh Wizardry" (super quick recipes for lamb) or "Cosmopolitan Creation" (exotic lamb recipes from all round the world!). My Lamb and Courgette Kebabs with Couscous recipe won in the welsh wizardry category, with the judges describing it as an "outstanding use of welsh lamb"! I have won a hamper of welsh lamb worth £100, thanks very much, yum yum!!

Monday, December 29, 2014

Recipe: Spinach and Ham Spaghetti

Spaghetti is my favourite sort of pasta, is this is one of my favourite pasta dishes. Spaghetti in a creamy sauce, flavoured with rich spinach, sweet honey roast ham, and topped with delicious tangy camberzola cheese. If you haven't heard of camberzola, it is possibly the best cheese ever invented, it's a cross between camembert and gorgonzola- a perfect combination of soft and blue cheese. If you've never tried it, cart yourself off to a major supermarket or cheesemongers now!!!

Spinach and Ham Spaghetti (serves 2)

20g butter
½ small white onion, finely diced
3 cloves garlic, crushed
½ tsp mixed herbs
1 tbsp fresh parsley, finely chopped
120g mushrooms, sliced
300ml buttermilk
100ml strong chicken stock
80g frozen peas
160g honey roasted wafer thin ham, diced
200g spaghetti
200g baby spinach
Salt and pepper to taste
80g camberzola, diced finely

1)      Fry the onion, garlic, mixed herbs, parsley, and mushrooms in the butter for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, bring a large pan of salted water to the boil. Add the buttermilk, and chicken stock, and cook on a high heat for a further 5 minutes.
2)      Cook the spaghetti according to the packet instructions. Add the peas and ham to the sauce and cook for a further 5 minutes. Add the spinach and cook for a final 4 minutes. Season to taste.
3)      Drain the spaghetti, return to the pan and add the sauce. Return to the heat and stir until all the ingredients are well combined and the spaghetti has soaked up the sauce. Serve, topped with the diced camberzola.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Recipe: Christmas Biryani

Gawd, I am absolutely stuffed! I actually didn't eat that much on Christmas day, as unfortunately I was working until about 4pm (chef-ing at Hall and Woodhouse feeding about 70 people. I say "unfortunately" but actually us chefs all had a right laugh, was quite good fun), BUT I went completely mental with all the leftovers on boxing day. Scoffing bowls of rum cake and chocolate gateau that my mother in law made, then chocolates, then potato salad, luush! I had leftover turkey from work, and some leftover gammon from mummy in law, and some sad looking vegetables in the fridge, and made this really scrummy dish. You guys might have noticed but I am loving these pouches of instant cooked rice at the moment. I know you are supposed to microwave them but they work really well stir-fried.

Christmas Biryani (serves 3)

1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 white onion
3 garlic cloves
½ white cabbage
1 large red pepper
Large handful fresh parsley (plus extra for garnish)
20g mild curry powder
10g turmeric
2 bay leaves
400ml chicken stock
1 generous tbsp chilli jam
125g diced cooked turkey
125g diced cooked gammon
1 x vVeetee Pilau rice pack
Salt and pepper to taste

1)      In a large wok, fry the onion, garlic, cabbage, pepper and fresh parsley for 10 minutes. Add the curry powder, turmeric and bay leaves, and fry for a further couple of minutes. Add the chicken stock and cook on a medium heat for 10 minutes.
2)      Add the turkey and gammon and cook for 5 minutes. Add the Veetee rice, and stir fry for about 5 minutes, until everything is well combined, and the sauce has been absorbed by the rice. Season to taste and serve with some extra parsley on top.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Video: Chorizo, Chickpea and Cabbage Soup

Merry Christmas everyone! My new recipe video is up, y'all enjoy!

Monday, December 22, 2014

Recipe: Tuna Paella

This is another entry into Princes Tuna recipe competition- and I reckon this is a real winner!! My boyfriend absolutely loved this. Obviously you would traditionally make paella with prawns and mussels and squid and things, but this is a much easier and cheaper paella to make. It really works well with tuna! I used tilda instant pouches of rice (those ones you are supposed to microwave- but frying it works well).

Tuna Paella
50g butter
1 large red onion, diced finely
2 courgettes, diced finely
1 large red pepper, diced finely
4 garlic cloves
Large handful fresh parsley chopped (plus a little extra for garnish)
20g paprika
20g turmeric
400ml chicken stock
320g frozen peas
4 x 160g tins Princes tin tuna chunks in spring water, drained
4 x 250g pouches instant cook white rice (or 500g dry white rice, cooked and then set aside)
Salt and pepper to taste

1)  In a large wok or paella pan, fry the onion, courgette, pepper, garlic, parsley, paprika and turmeric in the butter for 10 minutes, stirring often. Add the chicken stock, and cook for a further 5 minutes, stirring often.
2)  Add the peas, tuna, and rice, and cook for a further 5 minutes, stirring often, until everything is well combined, and the rice has soaked up all the liquid. Season to taste, and serve with some extra fresh parsley.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Recipe: Key Lime Cheesecake

Key Lime Pie is an american dessert, apparently originally invented by fisherman in the Florida keys (using limes that grow so prevalently there). Instead of the traditional bright green lime filling and meringue topping, i have turned this into a sort of lime-y cheesecake, absolutely delicious. Because of the lime I think it's a really nice pudding, as the tanginess kinda cleanses the palate, as well as being satisfyingly creamy. If you want to make it vegetarian, Dr Oetker have a vegetarian gelatine powder you can buy.

Key Lime Pie (serves 8)

180g shortcake biscuits, crushed/blitzed to a fine crumb
90g butter
15g sugar
600g cream cheese
3 limes, juice and zest (save a little zest to sprinkle over the top when finished)
1 x 4g sachet gelatine powder
150g sugar
150g boiling water
Whipped Cream

1)  Melt the butter in a small saucepan, and mix in the sugar and crumbled biscuits. Spoon into a 23cm loose-based round flan tin, and press mix down firmly. Allow base to chill for about half an hour.
2)  Meanwhile, mix the cream cheese, lime juice and lime zest until well combined. Mix the gelatine powder and sugar with the boiled water until dissolves, and then whisk into the cream lime mixture. Keep beating this mixture until it’s well combined and starts to thicken (this takes a few minutes, but trust me, it does thicken up eventually).
3) Pour creamy mixture on top of the biscuit base. Allow to set in the fridge for at least 8 hours (preferably overnight). Garnish with whipped cream and a little bit of lime zest.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Recipe: Taiwanese Black Bean Noodles

Gosh, this is my absolute FAVOURITE sort of meal. Give me chicken, noodles, in a nice savoury sauce or broth, and I could live on this FOREVER. It's all cooked in one pan (or wok!), it's really quick to make, it's really healthy, and it tastes absolutely gorgeous! I call it Taiwanese because in Taiwan they like to use booze, like wine sherry or beer in their cooking. For this recipe I have used those packs of already cooked and oiled egg noodles that you find in the salad-y stir fry section of the supermarket, but you can pre-cook dried egg noodles and use them if you want to make the recipe cheaper. I was just being lazy to be honest! I am entering this into Health Bay's Healthy recipe competition, as it's low in fat, high in protein, and has 2 of your five a day vegetable portions per serving!

Taiwanese Black Bean Noodles (serves 2-3 depending on personal greed!)
1 tbsp vegetable oil
½ red onion
6 spring onions, chopped
370g chicken thighs, diced
6 garlic cloves, finely chopped
20g finely chopped ginger
120g broccoli florets
1 courgette, diced thickly
120ml white wine or sherry
50ml dark soy sauce
15ml toasted sesame oil
½ tsp hot sauce
135g black bean sauce
100ml water
Bunch of fresh basil, roughly chopped
825g fresh cooked noodles
Salt and pepper to taste

1) Mix together the wine, soy sauce, sesame oil, hot sauce, black bean sauce and water together and set aside. In a large wok, heat the vegetable oil and fry the chicken thighs, garlic and ginger for 3 minutes.
2) Add the broccoli and courgettes and fry for a further 3 minutes. Add the spring onions, fry for a further minute. Add the sauce mixture and cook for 1 minute. Add the fresh basil and noodles, and stir fry for 2 further minutes, tossing the noodles with the rest of the ingredients, until the sauce has thickened up, and the noodles are hot.
3)  Season to taste and serve!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Video: Roast Sweet Potato and Feta Salad

Hi guys, my second recipe video, making a delicious and healthy man-sized salad, feeding 3 for £1.97 per serving! In this video I show you how to make this recipe, and the health benefits of consuming sweet potato, and feta cheese. Full recipe available at: http://chef-mels-kitchen.blogspot.co.uk/2010/03/recipe-sweet-potato-and-feta-salad.html

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Recipe: Chinese Roasted Shoulder of Pork, with Sweet Carrots and Red Onions

Fancy doing something a little different with your Sunday roast? The typical roast pork, crackling and apple sauce, is amazingly lovely when you have a craving for it, but this is something much more unique to do with shoulder of pork, which is a delicious and usually very cheap cut. What's nice is the sauce and the veg all cooks in the pan with the pork, so no flavour is lost in the cooking. I served this with Tilda Coconut Basmati rice, which goes very well with it.

Chinese Roasted Shoulder of Pork, with Sweet carrots and Red onions (serves 4)

1.8kg shoulder of pork
400ml white wine
160g Sainsburys Chinese inspired marinade
Juice of 1 lemon
¼ tsp Chinese 5 spice
10ml toasted sesame oil
2 tbsp honey or golden syrup
100ml strong vegetable stock
2 bay leaves
1 stick fresh rosemary, finely chopped
1.2 kg carrots, peeled and diced thickly
8 red onions, peeled and diced
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
20ml light soy sauce
2 tsp cornflour, mixed with a little water

1. Preheat oven to 200C. Mix together wine, marinade, lemon juice, 5 spice, sesame oil, honey, stock, bay leaves, rosemary and black pepper in a mixing bowl. Put the carrots and red onions in a roasting tray, and pour over the sauce.
2. Put the shoulder of pork on top of the vegetables, season with a little salt and pepper, and bake in the oven for 2 hour 15 minutes. Remove from the oven, and put the pork aside on a plate to rest a little.
3. Pour the sauce and vegetables from the roasting pan into a saucepan, put onto a high heat and bring the boil. Add the cornflour, and cook for a couple of minutes longer, stirring often, until thickened. Carve the pork, serve with the vegetables and sauce, with rice, noodles or potatoes as desired. 

Monday, December 8, 2014

Recipe: Zesty pork meatballs, with Creamy Garlicky Mushrooms

Mmmmm, I love meatballs! I also love using pork mince, I find you can get so much flavour out of it. Rather than the typical Italian style meatballs- with a tomato based sauce and spaghetti, this recipe is a bit more Swedish in style- meatballs in a creamy mushroom sauce instead. I serve this with mash, which I think goes really well, but feel free to serve it with whatever you want- rice, pasta, and crusty bread also works pretty well.

Zesty Pork Meatballs with Creamy garlicky mushrooms (serves 2)

300g pork mince
Zest of 1 lemon
Handful fresh parsley, finely chopped
½ red onion, finely chopped
¼ tsp salt
½ tsp paprika
20g nice strong English mustard
Plenty of black pepper

35g butter
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
460g chestnut mushrooms, quartered
7 garlic cloves finely chopped
Handful fresh parsley, finely chopped (plus extra for garnish)
¼ tsp mixed herbs
70ml brandy
150ml vegetable stock
150g sour cream
Salt and pepper to taste

1)  Preheat oven to 200C. Mix together all the meatball ingredients together, and shape into 8 meatballs (about 50g each). Place these meatballs on a roasting tray.
2)  Meanwhile, in a medium sized saucepan, fry the mushrooms, garlic, parsley and mixed herbs in the butter and olive oil for 15 minutes. Add the brandy, and fry for a couple of minutes. Add the stock and sour cream, and cook on a low heat for a further 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
3)  Meanwhile, roast the meatballs in the oven for 20 minutes. Season the mushrooms to taste, and serve with the meatballs, with mash, rice or pasta as desired, and extra parsley on top for garnish. 

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Recipe: Pecan Tart

Is this one of the laziest desserts ever invented? Possibly. Could I have fairly easily made my own sweet pastry for this instead of taking short cuts? Probably. Is this one of the most delicious and easy puddings I have ever made? Definitely. 5 minutes to make, 25 minutes to bake, and then just a little bit of cooling time. Perfect for when you have a real sweet tooth, or have friends over and not much time to make something sweet for entertaining! This dessert is really nice served with extra pouring cream over the top.

Pecan Tart (serves 8)
1 X Edlers 195g sweet pastry case
180g pecans, roughly chopped
170g golden syrup
50g sugar
100g butter
50ml single cream

1) Preheat oven to 175C. Melt together all the ingredients (except the pastry case!) in a small saucepan until hot and well combined.
2) Pour pecan mixture into the pastry case. Bake the tart in the oven for 25 minutes. Remove from the oven, and allow to cool in the fridge for at least an hour. Remove from the foil case, slice and serve!

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Recipe: Spiced Potato Filo Pies with Creamy Vegetable Curry

This recipe requires a little multitasking but it's worth it. A delicious crispy filo parcel, with spiced potato filling (a little like a samosa, but lazier, no fiddly shaping
!), with a creamy spicy vegetable curry to go on the side. A little alternative to your classic British pie, gravy and veg! The recipe also works with shortcrust or puff pastry, you just don't need to brush with butter.

Spiced Potato Filo Pies, with creamy vegetable curry (serves 6)

1.5kg potatoes, peeled and diced
2 tbsp olive oil
3 red onions, finely sliced
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
30g fresh coriander, chopped
½ tsp cumin seeds
½ tsp turmeric
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tbsp garam masala
200ml vegetable stock
2 packs of Jus Rol Filo Pastry
60g butter

Vegetable Curry
1 tbsp olive oil
1 red onion
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 green chillies, seeded and diced
3 tbsp Pataks Korma curry paste
1 butternut squash, peeled and diced
1 red pepper
4 carrots, peeled and diced
1 tin tomatoes
500ml vegetable stock
100ml single cream
250g spinach
Salt and pepper to taste
Fresh coriander for garnish

1)      Preheat oven to 180C. In a large saucepan, boil the diced potatoes for 6 minutes, drain and set aside. In a large saucepan, fry the onions, garlic and coriander in the olive oil for 6 minutes. Add the cumin seeds, turmeric, paprika, ground coriander and garam masala, and cook for a further 2 minutes.
2)      Add the potatoes and veg stock, and cook on a medium heat, stirring often, for 12 minutes. Set aside and allow the filling to cool a bit. In another saucepan, fry the red onion, garlic, and green chillies in the oil for 5minutes. Add the curry paste and fry for a further 2 minutes. Add the butternut  squash, red pepper, carrots, tinned tomatoes and stock, and cook on a medium heat, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes.
3)      Meanwhile, line two baking trays with greaseproof paper. Lay out the two packs of filo, slicing each sheet into three. Spoon the potato filling equally onto the 6 portions of filo, and fold these sheets over and crimp to form individual pies. Place these pies onto the baking trays. Melt the 60g of butter, and brush this generously over all of the pies. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes.
4)      10 minutes before the pies are ready, add the single cream and spinach to the veg curry. Remove the pies from the oven, season the vegetable curry to taste, and serve the pies with the curry on the side, and some extra coriander.